Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Serious words

Pretty Lady has had the great good fortune to hear from a talented young lady whom she addressed back in January:
When it came time for Ms. Reichlen, the Dewdrop, to take the stage, Ms. Iliesiu mimicked her elegant movements, rising on her toes and slowly slicing the air with her arms.
Mr. Martins, who also likes to watch from the wings, turned to give her an icy stare.
“He just gave me this stare, like: ‘It’s nice you’re learning it, but …. ’” Her voice trailed off. “Whenever I see him, I get chills.
“I hope he’s my director one day.”

Sweetheart, no! Never work with a man who squelches your ambitions.
Haha that is me... I am not kidding. But I have had the dream to be in NYCB my whoel life and I am determined to sucess. But thank you for the advice.

Cecilia I.

Cecilia. My dear. Now that I have your attention.

You are too young to remember Mr. B. But to you I am sure that Mr. B. is more than a legend; I am absolutely positive, dear Cecilia, that Mr. B. is God. Unless of course Peter has usurped that position, as he has so much else. But no matter.

The fact is, Cecilia, that George Balanchine was God. But he was a lesser demigod; a demigod of human creativity. An artist, in other words. And like most artists, he had his blind spots.

I will go so far as to say that he had more than a few blind spots. I will go so far as to say that as regards matters of fundamental human decency, the man was a monster.

You see, Cecilia, to George Balanchine the artist, his dancers, those ephemeral athletes, those dedicated acolytes, those monastic slaves, were nothing more than art supplies. They were not the point; they were the medium. And mediums are there to be ruthlessly used up. The pencil gets sharpened until it is a nub and then discarded; the paint tube is grabbed with a dirty hand and squeezed to disgorge its guts; the brush is left standing in turpentine until it disintegrates. It is not comfortable to be a paintbrush, Cecilia.

I am sure that you know this. I am sure that you revel in it. I am sure that you have undergone three hours of class and four hours of rehearsal in one day with no more sustenance than a diet Coke and an apple. I am positive that you have experienced the sensation of skin slowly peeling off the outsides of your toes, and have developed ingenious methodologies for bolstering toenails in various stages of blackening and falling off. Moreover I am sure that you are proud of the serene, joyful expression on your face that you stoically maintain whilst enduring these sensations. And I am proud of you, too.

I merely feel the overwhelming urge to caution you that the spirit of George Balanchine does not give a rat's ass how much you are suffering on behalf of his art, and neither does Peter Martins.

If I tell you, lovely Cecilia, that both George and Peter are pure egotists, this will mean very little to you. It may very well mean something positive in your mind; it may symbolize Discipline, and Dedication to Higher Things. The dance world regards narcissism as an unqualified virtue; interest in anything at all besides one's own reflection in the mirror is an unforgiveable lapse.

And that reflection, if it is pure of line and movement, may take you to some glorious places. Places which I have no need to describe to you, because you have been there, as have I.

But I am telling you very seriously that if you place the whole of your identity and sense of self-worth into that mirror, Cecilia, the torments of the damned will be yours for ever and ever. And it will not be worth it. Moreover, there is no need for it. You may, Cecilia, become a principle dancer with the NYCB without losing your soul. But if there is ever a choice between one and the other, I devoutly hope that you will choose the latter.


Anonymous said...

Thank you again and I will take you comment seriously. Do you watch NYCB a lot? If you are free in the first few days of January, please come see Sleeping Beauty. I will be in it!
Thank you again.
Cecilia I.

Anonymous said...

PS. Where did you dance?